Keeping patients, staff and doctors safe has been our priority throughout the pandemic.

Research by an Epworth respiratory specialist is helping keep patients, staff and doctors safe.

Dr Simon Joosten has received a $50,000 Innovation Grant from the Epworth Medical Foundation to further his research into the use of HEPA filters to improve ventilation in hospitals.

The innovation grant builds on a Monash University study, undertaken by Dr Joosten, into the use of N95 masks combined with HEPA filters to keep hospital staff safe in COVID-19 wards.

Dr Joosten says the findings from that study show standard PPE alone does not protect against infectious aerosol at a high load.

“Our study highlights the need to provide multiple layers of protection to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Joosten said.

“Among the most important protective measures are vaccination, personal protective equipment and ventilation. Our study shows personal protective equipment and ventilation interact to provide added protective benefits against virus-laden aerosols.”

Keeping COVID-19 wards safe

The study which is currently being peer reviewed has already guided changes to ventilation at Epworth Richmond.

Dr Lachlan Henderson, Group Chief Executive, Epworth HealthCare, said keeping patients, staff and doctors safe has been the priority throughout the pandemic.

“Epworth has implemented a higher level of PPE across key areas such as our emergency departments, intensive care units and COVID-19 ward,” Dr Henderson said.

“We have also regularly reviewed airflows at each of our hospitals. Dr Joosten’s virus aerosol research was critical in guiding our infection control team to deploy HEPA filter technology at Epworth, as additional protection to keep our hospitals safe.”


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